David Vs Goliath?- Why Moyes Shouldn’t Be Written Off Just Yet5 min read

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Blogger of many different sports. My main interests are in football and formula 1, but I tend to write about anything topical in the world of sport. I also write about fantasy football on a regular basis.

A 2-0 loss to Watford was a far from ideal start for David Moyes’ tenure as West Ham manager. It’s fair to say that his appointment has been met with a sizeable amount of scepticism from Hammers fans, and Sunday’s game won’t have done him any favours. It already appears that he is under pressure from fans and media alike. Here are the main arguments that Moyes’ many critics are using, and why it may be unwise to follow them.

“He’s failed at clubs in the Premier League before”

Admittedly, it’s entirely inconceivable to argue that spells that Manchester United and Sunderland were a success for Moyes. United coming 7th in 2013/14 was clearly unacceptable for a club that enjoyed such incredible success under Sir Alex Ferguson, but Moyes’ successor Louis Van Gaal only managed to scrape into the champions league the following year and then failing to do so in 2014/15, despite making many high-profile signings including Memphis Depay, Radamel Falcao, Angel Di Maria, Victor Valdes and Bastian Schweinsteiger. Compared to Moyes tenure, where united only signed Juan Mata and Marouane Fellaini, and considering that Jose Mourinho only guided the club to 6th last season, there’s a strong case that United expected too much from Moyes, with an ageing squad which in Ferguson had been galvanised by one of the greatest managers in football history. Sunderland were well and truly marooned at the bottom of the premier league table under Moyes last season. Once again, Moyes was faced with an ageing squad, and with very little budget. Perhaps he could have been wiser with the scarce finances that he did have, but Sunderland had been waiting for relegation for years- it was inevitable that it would happen sooner or later, and their struggles at the bottom of the championship table this season only go to show this even more. His time at Everton was clearly a success, winning 3 manager of the year awards (2003,2005,2009), including a 4th place finish in 2004-05. To manage over 400 premier league games at a single club is a feat only achieved by Moyes, Ferguson and Wenger. He transformed the toffees from a club threatened with relegation to a stable, top-half club.

“The 2-0 Loss to Watford is a sign of things to come”

Moyes was “disappointed a lot” by the performance against Watford, but there were definitely more reasons to be positive than is suggested. This BBC Sport article, for example, fails to show that the Hammers had 4 clear cut chances (which was mentioned on the match of the day 2 interview with Moyes) which all would have been goals but for some incredible goalkeeping from Watford keeper Gomes and some suspect finishing from Kouyate. In any other season, a loss to Watford would be considered a very poor result- however, the Hornets have played so well this season that manager Marco Silva is Everton’s main target for the current managerial vacancy. Moyes was also missing key players through injury- Andre Ayew, Chicharito, Michael Antonio and Jose Fonte. It’s simply unfair to judge Moyes on a single game- another week to settle in the squad and upcoming matches against Leicester and Everton will certainly give us a much better picture of how Moyes might fare at the Olympic Stadium.

“He didn’t like Chicharito at all when they were at Manchester United and won’t use him”

At Manchester United, Moyes had a wealth of attackers to choose from, including Wayne Rooney, Robin Van Persie, Danny Welbeck and Shinji Kagawa. West Ham do not have the same level of talent, and Moyes had said that he has no issue with Chicharito. He is a proven goalscorer who Moyes surely realises he must utilise effectively, rather than putting him out on the wing as his previous manager Slaven Bilic. Having said this, West Ham have enough offensive quality to move up the table without Hernandez; Carroll, Ayew and Sakho offer alternative forward options, whilst Antonio, Lanzini and Arnoutovic have the potential to contribute with goals from midfield. There’s no doubting that Moyes has a tough task on his hands. But West Ham have the players to move well away from the relegation zone, and Moyes is an experienced premier league manager with pedigree in moving a team up the table in a similar vein, at Everton. He has far more reason to be positive than he was at Sunderland, as his squad now is of a far better quality, and is keen to prove that his time at United isn’t viewed with the right context. Perhaps the real Goliath sized challenge is for Moyes to get the fans and the media off his back.

Charlie Widdicombe    

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Charlie Widdicombe

Blogger of many different sports. My main interests are in football and formula 1, but I tend to write about anything topical in the world of sport. I also write about fantasy football on a regular basis.